Pataki stumps for Lazio in KJ
By Judy Rife
Published: 2:00 AM – 11/06/00
Last updated: 10:51 PM – 12/14/10
KIRYAS JOEL: Community stays up late in the cold to give Pataki a warm welcome.
Thousands of Kiryas Joel residents endured a long, cold wait in the sprawling plaza that fronts their majestic synagogue last night to experience what they described as “an honor” — a visit from Gov. George E. Pataki.
The governor, 90 minutes behind schedule, arrived shortly before 10 p.m. to ask villagers to vote tomorrow — and to vote specifically for Rick Lazio as New York’s next U.S. senator.
His appearance, with U.S. Rep. Ben Gilman, R-Greenville, and state Sen. Bill Larkin, R-C, Cornwall-on-Hudson, in a community known for voting as a bloc underscored the effort that Republicans are making for Lazio right up until the polls open. Voter surveys show the Long Island congressman trailing Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The orderly crowd of roughly 5,000 gave Pataki a standing ovation amid blaring music from a dozen speakers perched atop a truck and then the boys from the community’s yeshivas, perched on rows of bleachers, sang a song of welcome and thanksgiving in Yiddish.
Thousands of men in traditional black garb of Satmar Hasidim filled the center of the plaza and the wide steps leading to the synagogue. Women and girls sat separately, according to tradition, and were repeatedly reminded to remain behind the yellow barricades. Many of the women brought their youngest children in carriages and used plastic covers toward off the night’s chill.
“The cold kills germs,” said one resigned woman as she rocked the carriage back and forth to soothe a crying baby.
Other women observed that the children really should be in bed but nobody wanted to miss Pataki’s second visit to the community. The first was in 1998, shortly before he won re-election — and garnered more than 2,300 votes from Kiryas Joel. His opponent, Peter Vallone, got 25.
Kiryas Joel Mayor Abraham Wieder told the crowd that Lazio had visited the village last week and impressed everyone who talked to him and, as a result, warranted the community’s endorsement.
Prior to the governor’s arrival, Wieder said he expected the turnout tomorrow to be higher than it was in 1998 with at least 3,000 of the village’s 3,900 registered voters casting ballots.
For photos visit our Facebook page Kiryas Joel Village
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